His birth name was Issur Danielovitch Demsky.
His idol was President Harry S. Truman.
He helped break the Hollywood blacklist by hiring Dalton Trumbo, a member of the "Hollywood Ten", to write a screenplay for one of his most famous movies. Despite widespread criticism from many in the industry he refused to back down and Trumbo received a screen credit under his own name.
He is an avid user of the Internet and is registered with MySpace.
He speaks German (fluently, but not accent-free) and also French.
He was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1984.
He has a famous movie star son and daughter-in-law.